Recently I’ve been researching and practicing mindfulness. Not to be confused with the traditional image of mediation , being mindful is simply training your mind to focus on one thing while staying grounded in the present.
When it comes to presenting, being in the present is critical. We all make mistakes, and making them won’t necessarily ruin a presentation. Success or failure depends on how we handle our mistakes.
Be it something as simple as dropping a whiteboard marker or something as serious as a misspelling on a PowerPoint presentation, our initial instinct is to dwell on the mistake and imagine the rest of the presentation being ruined because of it. That causes a chain reaction that often spirals into even more mistakes.
Instead of going through all that, try a mindful approach: acknowledge the mistake when you make it, even to the audience if necessary (in fact, this could be a good opportunity for some humor). After that, accept it and put it behind you. Focus your attention on the present—continuing to deliver the dynamic presentation you set out to perform.
In doing this, you’ll often find that your audience won’t be dwelling on your mistakes either—they’ll be too engaged in your presentation to worry about that pen you dropped a few moments ago. Becoming a mindful presenter will ensure that your mistakes end up where they belong–in the past.